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Learn How to Work with the Pen Tool in Macromedia Flash 8
Tags:adobe acrobat,adobe illustrator,adobe indesign cs2,adobe pagemaker,adobe photoshop,cmyk,control palette,object styles,rgb,total training
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Now, I want you all to try this. So we want to go through all the little principles of the pen tool. I have set up another drawing in our lesson 3 folder and I am going to go ahead and open that now so we can get a little practice with this tool. Should be this one called the pen tool drawing right in lesson 3 and I have set up a couple of layers here with some lines in it. We are going to use them as guides.
Let us see, I have got a few items hidden here and tracing one, I have got a locked layer with some graphics in it. That is what you see here and we are going to do our work drawing 1.
Now, again, I am going be using this pen tool and there is really not too many things for the pen tool but I want to take sometime looking at it because it is a little bit different tool than probably what you are used to. First of all, it does not work like a pen. It does not work anything like a pen which makes it a little bit strange. But it is very functional when it comes to vectors.
Our vectors are going to be controlled by these points and curves, so that is really what it makes and the first line up in here is pretty darn easy. The first function of pen tool is clicking. Whenever I click, I am going to make a point. I am going to call those control points and I am just going to drop control points in each one of this squares. So, I click in the first one, I am going to click on the second one and there is our old two points makes a line. I can continue on and finish out my line and no problem. So, that should be no big deal.
My second little example down here is talking about the second function of the pen tool. Every time I click, I will make a point but I will also need to drag if I want to make a curve line. So, we are going to click in the square to start things off. We better pause here because I need to recycle the pen tool. I am going to do an undo, move back up a step and if you want to draw a new line, you are going to click the pen tool again, that will start you off.
You can always see that you are starting off with the pen tool if you see the little X on the icon there. So, we will try to remember that from now on and I am going to go back to trying to draw this curve here. We are going to click to make a point but I am holding down the mouse curser and I am pulling out. Now, you can see that handle that I am pulling out of there. That is not going to part of the curve but it is going to be a description that is going to tell the curve what to do in this case.
Now, I have drawn that first piece in, it disappeared but I am going to go over and draw the second piece over on this side. I am going to click again and drag. Now, you see I am dragging to the circle points and that forms the curve that I am working on. That is going to be the basis of our pen tool. It is how we are pretty much going to draw everything.
Now, I want to try some other things out here but I want to introduce one other companion tool that kind of goes with this one and that is up here in the menu. It is the sub selection tool. The sub selection tool has a very specific job. It works directly on all this points and handles that we have drawn with our pen tool and allows me to modify them. If I just click on any line, I will not only get access to the point and I can move the points around to be able to change this curve but I can also get access to that handle and move it around to access the curve.
Now, moving the handle in this way gives us a really good ideal of what is going on with this handle. I think this probably one of the more confusing parts of drawing vectors for first time users and that is what is this handle doing? Well, it is really doing two things for me in shaping my curve.
The first thing I will talk about is the direction. I will move the handle around in a circle around the curve and it is changing the direction that my curve leaves that point. Now, when we have got control points, my curve is always going to go through the control point and this handle is going to determine the direction that it leaves. And If I have the handle pointed up, the curves are going to be leaving in that upward direction.
Now, sometimes, it is hard to grab this little handles and you will notice that it will indicate when I have got one by changing the curser a little bit there. Now, the second thing that our handle is going to do for us is not just the direction but you will notice I can pull longer or shorter on this one. That might be easier to see on the up direction.
If I pull longer, I am going to get a lot more curvature to this one, it is going to be a lot pointier and if I go very short, it is going to be flat, so, that is going to directly relate to how much curviness is a real good technical term for you, that my curve has as I move it around.
Now, it is also a good thing to point out that every curve has two ends and two handles. So, you are going to be adjusting these handles and parallel to get the curve that you want as you build your file up. Now, let us try this by stringing this together. I am not just going to make a single set of curves, very much like what we did in our first exercise at the top. I can also string, point and drags together.
Now, keep in mind, click makes a point. Click and drag makes a handle. Here, I want to make all handles. Okay, I need to switch over my pen tool. By the way, the shortcut for the pen tool is letter P. so, I switch over to my pen tool now and we are ready to draw, I will just click and drag. I have got my locations packed out for me there.
Click and drag again and we are forming our curve and just like with our example before, If I just continue on, I can keep going with my curve making it a nice squiggle S curve that we had set up there from before. That is really honestly all you are going to do with the pen tool. Click and click and drag and making a combination of straight lines and curves is just choosing when to just click and when to just drag. So, let us try this last example out over in here.
Now, on these ones, you can even see that I do not have any circles around here and that is because if I want a straight line segment between there, I am going to do exactly what I did over here. I will reset the pen tool and I have got my X there and I am going to make a straight line segment, so I am just going to click like before, no handles and I get my straight line segment.
Now, let me go down to this section and I am going to click and drag and you will see even though only one side has a handle, this one is kind of free floating, I still got a curve going in here; same thing down to this area. I want to restart a straight line segment, so I am just going to click. Now, that is taking the handle off the other end of the line pulling it down to this side and I still get a curve in this section because I do have a handle on this point here and I will just click down here to finish that one off.
So, we are just really going to be choosing when to click, when to click and drag and obviously, where to put a point. So, that is where we want to take a look at next.